Dramatic Irony In Hamlet Act 1 And 2

I need some examples of dramatic irony in Act 1 and Act 2 of Hamlet.

Who are the characters involved in the irony? Is it sympathy or antipathy?

One example is of Polonius believing Hamlet to be crazy; the audience knows Hamlet is not crazy but merely acting that way, even secretly mocking Polonius. This scene is more likely antipathetic, not sympathetic, because Polonius is being humorously mocked.


Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Shakespeare makes extensive use of dramatic irony in the play Hamlet, both antipathetic and sympathetic.

His title character, Hamlet, often uses verbal and antipathetic irony as a form of expression. In act 1, scene 2, we are introduced to most of the main characters in the court. We learn from the new king, Claudius, that his brother has recently died. Claudius has not only assumed the throne but also married Gertrude, the very recent widow of the former king—and Hamlet's mother.

Hamlet, with a jaundiced eye and tongue, makes a series of ironic comments in this scene for everyone in the court to hear. He does not approve of his mother's quick remarriage to his uncle, with his dead father scarcely buried.

King: Take thy fair hour, Laertes. Time be thine,
And thy best graces spend it at thy will.
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son——

Hamlet: [Aside] A little more than kin, and less than kind!

King: How is it that the clouds still hang on you?

Hamlet: Not so, my lord. I am too much in the sun.

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1244 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team